The presence of anti-E2 antibody was investigated in the serum samples of 46 patients with liver disease, who were positive for hepatitis C virus-RNA, and in five subjects HCV-RNA-negative acting as controls. Antibody to E2/NS1 protein was found in seven of 46 (15%) of the patients with liver disease but in none of the control subjects. In one patient who was treated successfully with interferon, the levels of anti-E2 gradually decreased and then finally disappeared after treatment. This suggests that the E2/NS1 protein may play a role in active viral replication.
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